Pathways toward resilient water supplies in Tanzania’s capital city, Dodoma


This one-day workshop, organised by Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), University College London (UCL) and Cardiff University (CU) explored potential pathways toward more resilient water supplies in the city of Dodoma. Over 40 participants from the general public to senior government officials (e.g. Tanzanian Director of Water Resources) engaged in sustained discussions over the future of water supply for Dodoma.  These discussions examined strategic questions around the long-term renewability of groundwater pumpage from the Makutapora Wellfield, the primary source of piped water supplies to Dodoma. Further participants discussed a range of demand-led (e.g. prioritising household use) and supply-led solutions (e.g….

Identifying and characterising groundwater development pathways in Africa


More than four years ago, an international group of collaborators embarked on a comparative study of Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa (GroFutures) in three ‘basin observatories’, the Upper Great Ruaha in Tanzania, the Upper Awash in Ethiopia, and the Iullemmeden in Niger and Nigeria. One key aim of the project was to identify a range of existing, emerging and potential ‘groundwater development pathways’ in each basin.  This work linked interdisciplinary, multi-scale research with a deliberative, multi-stakeholder engagement process in order to inform groundwater planning processes in the basins. Physical infrastructure to assess groundwater recharge and storage (i.e. piezometer arrays, soil-moisture…

Assessing groundwater storage in the Iullemmeden Basin


New field experiments assessing groundwater storage in the Iullemmeden Basin have recently been completed under GroFutures by a team of early career researchers. From December 2018 to January 2019, Fabrice Lawson from the Université d’Abomey Calavi and IRD in Benin (UAC/IRD), and Jean-Baptist Gnonhoue (IRD, Benin) worked with colleagues, Rabilou Mahaman and Boukari Issoufou from the Université Abdou Moumouni of Niamey (UAMN) in Niger to conduct field experiments applying Magnetic Resonance Sounding (MRS) and Time Domain Electromagnetics (TDEM), to generate in-situ measurements of groundwater storage. Such measurements of groundwater storage are rare despite their fundamental importance to understanding quantitatively the…

GroFutures at the AGU in Washington DC


GroFutures team members, Mark Cuthbert and Mohammad Shamsudduha, presented new research at the 2018 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) held from the 10th to 14th of December in Washington DC (USA). On behalf of The Chronicles Consortium, Mark presented a paper, Climate-groundwater relationships revealed by multi-decadal groundwater level observations across tropical Africa (GC51K-0923), based on 14 multi-decadal groundwater-level records or “chronicles” from 9 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (left photo). Mark and Shams also co-convened a session on Groundwater, Climate, and Adaptation to Hydrological Extremes (H11T) that featured a dozen contributions from around the world. In this session,…

Enhanced monitoring in the Great Ruaha Observatory


The GroFutures Team, working with the Tanzanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation, expanded monitoring infrastructure in the Upper Great Ruaha Observatory (UGRO) to include interactions between groundwater and surface water. An outstanding question regarding the sustainability of groundwater withdrawals for irrigation and drinking-water supplies is whether groundwater in the agriculturally intensive lowlands is replenished by river flow, sustains river flow, or both depending upon the season. To try to answer these questions, team members, Japhet Kashaigili, Richard Taylor and PhD student, Hezron Philipo, installed staff gauges combined with automated dataloggers measuring water pressure (height) and temperature hourly in the lowland areas of the…

GroFutures 3rd Annual Workshop in Niamey marked by rain!


GroFutures held its 3rd Annual Workshop at Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey (UAM), Niger from the 19th to 23rd of February 2018. The workshop was opened by UAM’s Vice Chancellor in the presence of the Dean of Faculty of Science and Technology and of the Dean of Faculty of Agronomy and attended by a total of 20 national and international team members from Benin, Ethiopia, France, Niger, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, UK and USA.  Regional stakeholders from the Niger Basin Authority, Ministry of Hydraulics as well as the French (IRD) and German (BGR) government agencies in Niger also attended. The…

Participatory Rural Appraisal in the Great Ruaha Basin


The GroFutures team in Tanzania has just completed the data collection component of the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercise in the Great Ruaha Basin of Tanzania. The team comprised Andrew Tarimo, Devotha Mosha Kilave, Gebregziabher Gebrehaweria and Imogen Bellwood-Howard. Following initial training at Sokoine University of Agriculture, the team moved to the study site in Mbarali District and worked in three villages (Matebete, Ubaruku and Nyeregete) between 23rd August and 2nd September 2017. During the PRA exercise the team carried out a range of activities including seasonal calendars development, long-term trend analyses, wealth indexes, technology rankings and a well inventory (see photos below)….

Groundwater monitoring across the Niger-Nigeria border


The GroFutures team from Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey (Niger) and University of Maiduguri (Nigeria), with support from Maradi University staff and the Regional Hydraulics authorities, has conducted joint field work exercises to establish a transboundary observatory that involves detailed monitoring of shallow groundwater and river discharge on both side of the border within the River Goulbi de Maradi Basin in northern Nigeria and south-central Niger. Shallow groundwater within alluvial deposits on both sides of the border is used not only for domestic water supplies but also irrigated agriculture. Upstream around the Jibia Town in northern Nigeria, 2 shallow (<10…

Groundwater monitoring established in the Upper Great Ruaha Basin of Tanzania


The GroFutures team at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA, Tanzania), led by Japhet Kashaigili (SUA) with support from PhD students, Hezron Philipo (SUA) and David Seddon (UCL), established in July (2017) a groundwater-level monitoring network in the Upper Great Ruaha Basin Observatory in southern highlands of Tanzania.  This area is part of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) where increased use of groundwater and surface water is anticipated to support agricultural production.  Constructed monitoring wells at depths ranging from 18 to 32 m below ground were drilled using a PAT-DRILL 421 rig. The team also instrumented monitoring wells recently constructed by project…

Views of 400 households surveyed in the Upper Awash Basin, Ethiopia


The GroFutures team in Ethiopia has recently completed a survey of 400 households from predominantly agricultural communities within the Becho and Koka Plains of the Upper Awash Basin of Ethiopia; there are the same communities where the GroFutures team recently constructed and deployed new groundwater monitoring infrastructure. The team of social scientists, led by Yohannes Aberra of Addis Ababa University with support from Motuma Tolosa and Birhanu Maru, both from the Oromia Irrigation Development Authority, applied a questionnaire to poll respondent views on small-scale, household-level use of groundwater for irrigation, the status of groundwater governance, and their experiences of different…